Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

A group of teachers, public employees and retirees in West Virginia is objecting to proposed health insurance benefits cuts.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports the group expressed its concerns Wednesday evening to the Public Employees Insurance Agency Finance Board at the last of five public hearings on the latest proposed cuts.

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What were the top stories in West Virginia from 2016? We searched our archives from the past year and compiled this list of the most popular stories.

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PEIA is the public health insurance program that covers all state employees and retirees. Teachers, state troopers, and yes, even employees of West Virginia Public Broadcasting are covered by the insurance plans. But here’s the issue: over the past few years, funding from state government for PEIA has stayed the same, while health care costs have been on the rise. Now, PEIA needs an additional $50-60 million each year in order to keep funding the program at the same level.


The West Virginia Public Employees Insurance Agency has approved more than $50 million in 2017-18 health insurance plan benefits cuts for state and public school employees, many non-state public employees, and retirees.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports the PEIA Finance Board approved the cuts Thursday. The plan includes $28 million in benefit cuts for state and public school employees, primarily through higher deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums as well as mandatory 90-day prescription fills for maintenance drugs for chronic conditions.

The West Virginia Public Employees Insurance Agency may be facing millions of dollars in cuts - partially due to rising drug prices. Annual PEIA public hearings about the cuts are scheduled throughout the month of November. The public is encouraged to attend the hearings to voice questions or concerns. In the meantime, Kara Lofton talked with PEIA director Ted Cheatham about the proposal. Here are some highlights from that conversation.

On what is causing the cuts

Doctor Patient Health Care Coverage
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The deadline for state employees, retirees and teachers to sign up for or change health insurance plans ended on Sunday, May 15, 2016.

Sunday marked the last day to adjust Public Employees Insurance Agency benefits.

PEIA Board
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Health insurance could become more expensive for some 230,000 West Virginians after the state Public Employees Insurance Agency, or PEIA, Finance Board voted unanimously to reinstate benefit cuts.

Board members had initially approved the cuts in December, but were assured by lawmakers that the program would receive more funding during this year's legislative session.

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

West Virginia is revisiting the idea of larger cuts to state employee and retiree health plans as a state budget stalemate drags on.

West Virginia's Public Employee Insurance Agency Finance Board is meeting Wednesday afternoon to discuss options amid a budget fight that has seen funding options for health plans die, including a higher tax on tobacco products and e-cigarettes.

PEIA Board Fights Budget Bill

Mar 11, 2016
Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

With less two days left in the 2016 Legislative Session, members of the Finance Board for the Public Employee’s Insurance Agency, or PEIA, have serious concerns about the changes to the state budget with regards to the agency’s funding.

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Members of the House will have to agree to a plan that closes the 2016 budget gap. On Wednesday, the chamber’s floor session largely focused on what that plan may look like for both the 2016 and 2017 fiscal years.

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Members of the House of Delegates are still debating a bill that would take money from the Rainy Day Fund to balance the 2016 budget, but it’s a fight over PEIA, the public employee’s health insurance program, that’s stalling the crucial legislation.

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

On the House floor Friday, Delegates were set to consider a bill recently approved by the Senate - a bill to help balance the 2016 budget. Senate Bill 364 was on second reading until members of the GOP majority made a tactical move to block a Democratic amendment.

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Democratic members of the House of Delegates met Tuesday to discuss their priorities for the 2016 legislative session.

House Minority Leader, Tim Miley of Harrison County shared a handful of the issues he says his party will propose during the 2016 session, but also made clear which Republican backed bills Democrats will oppose.

Members of West Virginia's Public Employees Insurance Agency Finance Board have voted to approve $120 million in cuts to workers' health plans.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports the cuts are slated to affect more than 200,000 public employees and retirees. Board members voted on the cuts Thursday because they say there has been no additional state funding to offset rising health care costs. PEIA says it has exhausted its reserve fund in recent years.

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

About a dozen education officials from around the state addressed the Legislative Oversight Commission on Education Accountability in an interim meeting Monday.

Budget cuts for higher education has been a topic many in the state find frustrating, and this feeling was no different at Monday’s interim meeting.

The West Virginia state employee and retiree insurance program is asking the public to weigh in on cuts in benefits it proposed earlier in October.

The Public Employees Insurance Agency said it plans to cut benefits by nearly $83 million for active employees and about $41 million for retirees, primarily through sharply higher deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums.

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West Virginia public workers could face another round of health insurance benefit cuts.